Melfi’s Staff Pick Image

New, but familiar, the “clubby space” (as they describe it) of Brooks Reitz and Tim Mink’s latest venture, Melfi’s, is at once welcoming and refined. Similarly, the food is original, while still approachable. The friendly waitress quickly appeared and suggested ordering from each of the categories and sharing amongst the table, starting with a pizza. The Stretch Armstrong is the simplest offering of the bunch, a Margherita of sorts. The uncommonly light, crisp crust is topped with a lightly seasoned red sauce bursting with tomato flavor. Gilding the lily is a generous ration of fresh, homemade Stracciatella di bufala cheese. Mixed with thick cream, Stracciatella is used to make burrata, but even on its own, the same mild creaminess is present. Light, yet decadent, it’s a damn good pie. The beverage menu is unique, and along with classic Italian cocktails and spritzers, features shakeratos and seven different negronis. The classic negroni is bitter, but smooth. In the pasta section, the rigatoni is served ‘crazy bastard’ style, which apparently means a hearty, spicy sauce made with nduja sausage and chunks of salty soppressata. Subdued by the cool, mild scoop of fresh ricotta, the dense, toothy pasta and rich sauce conspire to produce a simple, comforting, yet original bite. —Vanessa Wolf (Dish, Summer 2019)

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